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Thailand spots 300 floating objects in Indian Ocean as weather halts search

The pictures were taken by Thailand’s only earth observation satellite on Monday.

A plane comes into land at an RAAF Base Pearce in Perth.
A plane comes into land at an RAAF Base Pearce in Perth.
Image: AP Photo/Rob Griffith/Pool

THAI SATELLITE IMAGES have shown 300 floating objects in the southern Indian Ocean during a search for the missing Malaysian airliner, an official said Thursday.

The objects, ranging from two to 15 metres in size, were scattered over an area about 2,700 km southwest of Perth, according to the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency.

“But we cannot,  dare not, confirm they are debris from the plane,” the agency’s executive director, Anond Snidvongs, told AFP.

He said the information had been given to Malaysia.

The pictures were taken by Thailand’s only earth observation satellite on Monday but needed several days to process, Anond added.

He said the objects were spotted about 200 km away from an area where French satellite images earlier showed potential objects in the search for the Boeing 777 which vanished on 8 March with 239 people aboard.

Thailand faced criticism after announcing more than a week after the jet’s disappearance that its radar had picked up an “unknown aircraft” minutes after flight MH370 last transmitted its location.

The Thai air force said it did not report the findings earlier as the plane was not considered a threat.

Search called off

The announcement comes as thunderstorms and gale-force winds grounded the international air search for wreckage from Flight MH370.

It frustrated the luckless effort yet again just as new satellite images of floating objects sparked hopes of a breakthrough.

It marked the second suspension within three days for the planes from several nations that, along with ships, have fought a losing battle against fierce winds and mountainous seas in the remote southern Indian Ocean as they hunt for hard evidence that the plane crashed.

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“Today’s search operations have been suspended due to bad weather,” the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which is coordinating the search, said on its Twitter account.

The agency initially said ships were leaving the search area along with the planes, but later announced the ships would stay and try to continue the search.

“Bad weather expected for next 24 hours,” it tweeted.

Malaysia had said late Wednesday that images taken in recent days by a French satellite showed “122 potential objects” adrift in the vast area, but nothing has been recovered yet that would confirm the plane’s fate.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 is presumed to have crashed on 8 March in the Indian Ocean with 239 people aboard after mysteriously diverting from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing path and apparently flying for hours in the opposite direction.

© – AFP 2014

Read:  Journalists filled in gaps on MH370 plane with ‘baseless speculation’ – Mark Little >

Read: “Tell us the truth!” Police intervene as families of missing passengers confront officials >

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